Agent Productivity in Fee-for-Service Savings Groups

  • Date Posted: August 27, 2012
  • Authors: Michael Ferguson
  • Organizations/Projects: Catholic Relief Services
  • Document Types: Evidence or Research, Primer or Brief
  • Donor Type: Non-Governmental Organization

This paper shares findings from a large-scale randomized control trial conducted in Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda. It compares the productivity of Private Service Providers and the productivity of project-paid field agents. The study found that savings-group agents who operated on a fee-for-service basis showed higher variability and formed fewer groups on average than project-paid agents over the same period.



About SILC Innovations

Savings and Internal Lending Communities (SILC) is a model developed by Catholic Relief Services for user-owned, self-managed, savings and credit groups. A SILC typically comprises 15-30 self-selecting members, and offers a frequent, convenient, and safe opportunity to save. SILC helps members build useful lump sums that become available at a pre-determined time and allows them to access small loans or emergency grants for investment and consumption.

SILC Innovations is a pilot project within CRS’ broader SILC program, funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation from 2008-2012, which aims to establish local entrepreneurial capacity for sustaining the spread of the savings-group model beyond the funding period. In the project design, the Field Agents (FA) responsible for forming and supporting SILC groups are recruited and paid by the project for up to one year. The FAs then undergo an examination process to become certified as Private Service Providers (PSP), who offer their SILC services to communities on a long-term, fee-for-service basis, with no further project funding. The project currently serves over 350,000 savings group members, mostly rural villagers, across the three pilot countries of Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda.